Glyphosate in honey: beekeepers get compensation – economy

Joy is still held back. “I am happy about the success on stage. It’s nice to hear we’re right, ”says Sebastian Seusing, 48, on the phone. He doesn’t know if the accused will go to the next instance. Seuse became cautious, the process dragged on too long. The District Court in Frankfurt (Oder) agreed on Monday to a lawsuit by a professional beekeeper against the agricultural company Stadt Güter Berlin Nord KG and sentenced it to EUR 14,544 in damages with interest. Working in one of his fields, Seusing’s honey was so contaminated with glyphosate that it had to destroy a good half a ton. The verdict is not final yet.

In spring 2018, Seusing founded 29 bee colonies on the edge of a field planted with alfalfa in Brandenburg, where he was living at the time, and managed by Stadtgüter Berlin Nord KG. In April 2019, their workers sprayed a pesticide containing glyphosate. The herbicide produced, among others, by by the Dax Bayer group, it destroys all plants, unless they are genetically modified in such a way that the poison cannot harm them. “The hives were clearly visible in the woods at the edge of the field,” says Seusing, “I wasn’t interested in the dandelion in the alfalfa field, but in the locusts in the forest.” Dandelion and robinia flowers are a feast for bees.

The insects carried the loaded nectar and pollen to the hive. According to Seusing, several laboratory analyzes of honey showed that the maximum residue levels for glyphosate were exceeded by up to 152. The limit is 0.05 milligrams per kilogram. In fact, the damage was much greater than 510 kilograms of honey, says Seusing. It also had to destroy crops from 60 other colonies due to contamination with glyphosate, a total of 4,000 kilograms, which is a third of the total harvest. These 60 people were only three kilometers from the pitch and were not under investigation. Seusing put the total damage at EUR 70,000, which he initially had to bear alone.

According to the spokesman of the court, the court “fully allowed” the beekeeper’s complaint. The court essentially found that “the contamination of the products in the hives with glyphosate amounted to unlawful property infringement”. The court “found the farm to be neglected because the hives had been clearly set up for the accused.” For Seusing’s attorney Georg Buchholz, the verdict is “all the way” and a fundamental verdict as it explains beekeepers’ claims.

A photo from the old days. Marriage Sebastian and Camille Seusing enjoy honey.

(photo: Florian Zimmer-Amrhein / PR)

“Many beekeepers don’t even complain because the process is too expensive for them,” says Thomas Radetzki, director general and initiator of the Aurelia Foundation, which is committed to protecting nature, especially bees. She paid Seusing the cost of the surgery. “Wild animals and pollinators need to be better protected,” says Radetzki, the beekeeper himself. He calls for a complete ban on the use of pesticides during plant flowering, bees are everywhere.

Stadtgute Berlin Nord KG did not want to comment on the verdict on Monday, but rather to wait for the justification of the verdict and then decide whether to appeal the verdict. The privately owned company has been leasing the site since 2007 from Berliner Stadt Güter GmbH, a real estate company in the state of Berlin that manages a total of 16,000 hectares in Brandenburg. According to the spokeswoman, the land is to be cultivated “in accordance with good agricultural practice”. Berlin’s urban neighborhoods refused to comment on the verdict on Monday.

Glyphosate has been under criticism for many years. In the U.S., thousands are suing Bayer, which ran into trouble with its 2018 acquisition of Monsanto. Comparisons are costing the company billions. All legal disputes have not yet been resolved.

The Seusing family has not lived in Brandenburg since the beginning of 2021. At the verdict, Seusing was not in Frankfurt on Monday. The honey business had become too risky for him. Seusing sold the company, facility, colonies. He currently works as an employee on an organic suckler cow farm in Schleswig-Holstein. It’s a beautiful farm, says Seusing, “But I still mourn my beekeeping. Our family lived off it well for twelve years. The loss was a huge blow. “

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